Compared with London, Congleton is a small, dull place; so why am I craving once again strolling around it in my powerchair? I have now lived in the capitol for over ten years, and I still love it for it’s energy and vibrancy. I love the feeling of being in a world city, one of humanity’s major cultural hubs. Yet recently I’ve been thinking about the small Cheshire town where I grew up. I’ve been back there a few times since I moved to london, of course, visiting my parents; yet I didn’t take my powerchair with me, so I couldn’t wander around the town as I once did.
I think that’s what I’m missing. It’s not that there’s much to see, especially compared to the metropolis: there’s just something about following the roads, lanes and paths I have known since infancy which I find myself craving. I used to go out for hours in my powerchair, to the town centre or through the park, where I still remember being pushed on the swings as a child. Either that or up the lanes between the fields towards Swettenham, trundling along listening to the birds. These days I can go to Eltham or Woolwich or Greenwich, or anywhere in this vast urban expanse; yet there’s something about trundling about that quiet northern town surrounded by countryside which I’m starting to crave. Something about those streets which I once knew so well, which I have so many memories of, but which I last went down a lifetime ago.
I’m obviously just feeling nostalgic. Many people are, these days: this year has been so relentlessly depressing that we all want to return to happier times. All the same, I hope that, soon enough, perhaps next spring, I’ll find myself heading in my chair down Rood Hill or through Congleton Town Centre, trying to spot anything or anyone I recognise. I will probably be feeling rather snooty and superior about now being a Londoner, but beneath that there will be a great deal of affection. I may have changed a great deal over the last decade as I have grown used to the cut and thrust, the speed and noise of life in a great metropolis; but I will always be from that small town up in Cheshire, surrounded by fields.